Planting Seeds for Change

Creating a community garden has been on my ‘to-do’ list for years, ” says Kelly Sorrell, a Vestavia Hills teacher and master gardener. 

The idea for a Pizitz community garden was conceived by Kelly, friend Becky Babanats, and board member Jane-Marie Marlin. “I had always hoped to start school gardens in our middle and high schools as I know the positive impact they can have on the students, ” says Jane-Marie.

Kelly Sorrell


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Kelly applied for a grant, and The Vestavia School Foundation provided the supplies. Vestavia Hills residents Jane Paris Smith and Dr. Chandler Smith provided the funds needed to complete the garden. “I wanted to do something for the city where my husband and I have lived for years, ” says Jane Paris. So when she became aware of Kelly’s wish for a vegetable garden at the school that could be used as a ‘hands-on’ learning experience, she heard her call.

During last year’s spring break, David Swindal and Max Garcia of Gartenfest, along with Garcia’s son, Kevin, worked to build the handicap- accessible garden. The school’s environmental club took on the responsibility of planting the plants.

“To see Kelly’s commitment to both gardening and education is an inspiration to everyone, ” says Jane Paris. “My husband and I hope that Kelly’s garden will serve as a model for other schools and that the students will have fun while they learn how to grow their own food.”

Fast-growing, kid-friendly plants

• Dill
• Summer Squash
• Sunflowers
• Cherry Tomatoes
• Marigolds 
• Zucchini
• Pumpkins
• Bell Pepper

Gartenfest, 205.414.6740  [email protected]

Text by Mary Margaret Blackwell • Photography by Art Meripol

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